We’re pleased to announce the launch of NonCorporate.org – our sister site, dedicated to helping people move away from multinational corporations (MNCs) for everything they need.
We’ve simplified, and co-ordinated in one place, all the ways that you can switch to non-corporate institutions like co-ops, community energy, community-supported agriculture, mutual societies, and sole traders for the essentials of life.
We’re not about ‘greening’ MNCs, giving workers ‘a voice’ or making MNCs appear ‘socially responsible’ – we’re just about providing alternatives, so that you don’t have to use them at all.
We’re not coming from a ‘left-wing’ perspective. This is nothing to do with the state, and it’s all about a free market – but a market consisting of businesses that are owned by the people who work in them. In fact, this is the only way that a market can be free, rather than rigged in favour of MNCs.
It means that wealth stays in local communities, rather than being sucked out to pay shareholders. Shares do exist in the non-corporate sector, but they’re community shares, that give a reasonable but limited return on investments, can’t be sold for more than they were purchased for, and don’t give you more votes the more you have.
So non-corporate businesses are democratic, and they don’t have to continually grow to satisfy investors, so they’re sustainable too. And we don’t think a democratic, sustainable society is possible if the institutions that comprise it aren’t themselves democratic and sustainable.
It’s not about left and right any more
We think that the battle between left and right is becoming less and less relevant in the 21st century, and we’re not interested in taking sides. We just want to support the hard-working, capable people who are building the non-corporate economy.
This isn’t a project to scare the right – it promotes the free market and hard work, and doesn’t include state enterprises. The corporate sector is the opposite – it rigs the market in favour of MNCs and banks, to the detriment of small, local businesses; it rewards those with money, not those who do useful work; and it works hand in glove with the state, providing money and jobs for politicians, and employing an army of lobbyists.
The left favours equality, compassion and strong communities; the right favours independence, responsibility … and strong communities. The corporate sector works against all of those things.
We’re promoting a non-corporate model in which there is a completely free market (i.e. you’re free to set up in business, to choose what you sell and at what price, and to choose what you buy depending on price), but where the rewards are down to your own work, not someone else’s.
We like self-employment, but if your business grows too big for one person, then form a partnership or a co-op and take people on as equal partners. Your entrepreneurship and hard work can be rewarded from the income of the co-op, but what it doesn’t mean is creaming off some of the value of the work of the other people in your company forever, with the option to pass that right on to your children, or to sell it to a stranger if they have enough money. We don’t think that’s morally right.
It’s all about ownership
Noncorporate.org is all about ownership. It’s not about giving workers ‘a voice’ or ‘benefits’. If a business (and in aggregate, society) is to be truly democratic, then people who do the work should own the business, either individually or collectively. Everything else is lip service. The same is true of housing and land. Let the people who live in the housing and work on the land own it, individually or collectively.
Corporate social responsibility?
We’re interested in replacing corporate institutions, not making MNCs more ethical, although we’re not against people who are – they’re obviously trying to do the right thing. However, we think that when a non-corporate option exists, it’s preferable to a corporate option in all cases. So if you have a community-supported agriculture scheme near you, for example, it’s better to get your vegetables from there, whatever corporate supermarkets do. And it’s better to be with Co-op Energy, the Phone Co-op, Nationwide and Linux than with E-on, EE, Barclays or Microsoft even though the infrastructure and the hardware may still be corporate – we can deal with that later. Let’s do what we can now.
Corporate social responsibility might buy us more time to transition to a truly democratic, sustainable society, or it might allow MNCs to hang on to, or grow their market share, making that transition more difficult. Time will tell, but we’re about providing alternatives to the corporate sector, so in our case it’s not relevant.
The NonCorporate blog will feature articles about non-corporate developments in the categories on the home page – food, energy, housing, banking etc.
We’ll be interviewing key people in community-supported agriculture, community energy, housing co-ops, workers’ co-ops, free & open source software, platform co-ops, mutual credit and other parts of the non-corporate economy to find out what they’re up to, what they’ve achieved, what barriers they face and how we might help them succeed.
The blog will also host opinion pieces, and we hope to stimulate debate on how to grow the non-corporate economy, and to prevent it from being consumed by the corporate sector.
We welcome your comments, and please let us know about any ideas you might have for articles.
Help us spread the word
We believe that this is a very popular idea, and that most people would be happy to jettison MNCs, but are not sure how to do it.
We’ve made it very simple to understand – just go to the home page and follow the instructions.
Also on the home page are various ways that you can help us spread the word (if you agree with what we’re trying to do, that is), as well as sharing this post on social media. We’d be very grateful if you could help get the word out there if you like what we’re trying to do.
The views expressed in our blog are those of the author and not necessarily lowimpact.org's
1Peter Sharp June 7th, 2018
The analysis is naive. Replacing multinational corporations with multinational cooperatives will have only a minor effect on the abuses inherent in capitalism. Cooperatives will be just as greedy and rapacious as corporations. What needs to change are the systemic motivations behind greed. At present, capitalism encourages people to be greedy by using specific incentives. First ask what those incentives are, and then ask how can they be changed. Systems are maintained by their rewards and punishments. If you want to change a system, you need to change its rewards and punishments. But first you have to identify them at their most basic level.
2Dave Darby June 7th, 2018
No, it’s not naive. In fact, it’s the only viable way to challenge corporate power (of course, if you’re not interested in challenging corporate power, we’re on very different pages).
I’d say that rather, talking about changing the ‘systemic motivations behind greed’ without an implementation plan is naive in the extreme. We hear this kind of thing all the time – we need to do this, we need to do that, without any realistic ideas around implementation.
We want to try to divert money away from the corporate sector, where concentrated wealth overflows into our political systems and prevents real democracy.
‘Cooperatives will be just as greedy…’ – no they won’t / aren’t. Why do you say that? It’s impossible for co-ops to concentrate wealth in the hands of majority shareholders in the same way as corporations.
And what’s a ‘multinational cooperative’?
3Grandfather Michael June 8th, 2018
The Quaker movement through Cadbury’s chocolate company was a good example of a non political direction based on higher human values through which a just and fairer community spirited business could be achieved.
4Christine June 10th, 2018
Thanks for this I have subscribed and look forward to seeing future articles
5Richard Teague July 24th, 2018
As a senior citizen I think the cohousing idea has a lot of promise especially for those of lower-income.
6julie July 25th, 2018
Thank you for showing me Non-corporate.org, I am a part time working, mother and average type person who never has a say in politics or anything like it, but i read the first comment and thought how full of big words it was. I am an intelligent person and have the gift of common sense, you do not need big words and unrealistic ideas to achieve things in this life. Yes people are extremely greedy, and nothing seems to be easy in this world we are growing into, but if you feel passionate enough about something and want to make the world a better place for everyone then I take my hat of to you.
For a very long time now I have had the same thoughts of supporting independents not the big guys and have tried to fulfil it. My late mum set me a challenge new years eve 10 years ago to try and only shop in local independent shops, I managed 3 months, it was not easy, but I still try when I can.
If I had the support and knowledge of like minded people, such as this, I would start again and try harder. And that’s just me, imagine if I pass the word on and so do other like minded people what could be achieved, it take 30 days to form a habit, if you could give encouragement (not put downs), then people would learn and follow. I don’t have disposable income and have to be careful, my husband has quite low wages compared to some, we both work in an independent family business who are happy to be there and not become a chain. So many businesses are closing down, I walk into Nottingham each week and see another small business close its doors and think how sad it is. Maybe we could learn from the past, such as the 1940s/50s, that’s what I am researching at the moment because I feel they got something right. I guess from my position in society I will be shot down in flames by comments, but I have had my say and hope I represent some people.
7Dave Darby July 26th, 2018
Julie – you get my vote. That’s exactly what we’re trying to do – to engage people, whether they’re academics or not, and to encourage and help them to dump multinationals. If others want academic discussions, we’re up for that too.